Unusual behaviour

This is a first for me. I have never responded to a bad review. They are part and parcel of being an author; you get good, you get bad.  That’s the way it goes. Not everybody likes what you write. As long as some people do, that’s OK.

But this was interesting, a study of the human condition.

One of my books was featured on BookBub recently. The e-book was reduced to 99cts. for the duration of the promotion.

It was downloaded just over 3,000 times over 48 hours.

Rapidly the first review during that period came in:

 Easily the MOST disappointing Kindle purchase I have ever made., July 27, 2014
 1.0 out of 5 stars
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry… (Kindle Edition)
This book was ridiculously depressing and dissatisfying. After you suffer through her whole stupid, sad life, no answers! The author dwells on all the awful stuff that happened to her – everybody has some lows – and passes over the good happy stuff. I must say I totally misinterpreted the title, lol! I thought, “I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry….” would finish up with “….but I’m not!” and there would be details on an interesting life well lived. But no, just drudgery and complaints.I see it’s rated highly and I am baffled. When you recount the people in her life who should have been there for her and weren’t, I just want to line them up and slap them.

Hey, Susie, I’m here, you can apologize to me anytime you want. Thank goodness I only paid 99 cents.

Blackbird Digital Books, who publish my books, responded by offering her a refund of the 99cts she had paid for the book, but this did not satisfy her, and a long stream of comments ensued. They became increasingly unpleasant, and one of them was removed by Amazon. That’s fairly unusual, even when asked they tend to let people have their say, so she must have stepped outside their boundaries.
But – this has obviously really wound her up. She believes that her comment was removed because of a complaint, which is  not the case which, if she contacts Amazon, I imagine they will confirm.
As a result of her frustration, she took to her blog and to Facebook to see what damage she could do.
Here is a screenshot from her Facebook page (ignore the photo, I don’t know what that’s doing there, it has nothing to do with my book):
Diane Maggie McInnis Miller
“EFF off,” she says, declaring that she is going to spread the word as far as possible about this ‘crappy book. LOL’
Then she takes to her blog to tell the whole story of her review and the ensuing comments, ending with:   “For pity’s sake, don’t people know better than to try and stifle me by now????”
As a writer and amateur shrink who studies human behaviour, I am genuinely fascinated. What would motivate anybody, over a few cents, to become so angry and vengeful, and publicly boast about it?

40 thoughts on “Unusual behaviour

  1. I need to make a slight correction. Blackbird did not offer a refund of the 99cts, they offered an apology. I don’t mind paying it, though, if it’s important!

  2. What an extraordinary episode. I have taken the time to follow the link to this woman’s blog (and am dismayed that she appears to be from Boston which will be my home for a while in a while – I will carry my shield) and the outburst seems without any actual foundation. I can only say its bizarre and send support and smiles aplenty from Cantal to both you and your feisty publisher 🙂

    • Well, Osyth, forewarned is forearmed, so you will not be heading to Boston unawares. But watch your back just in case. 😀

      Thanks for the good wishes, reciprocated from gloriously sunny south-west France.

      • I wonder if I’m just Nosey? I’m an introvert, but I’m so interested in people’s lives–not just the exciting and adventurous lives, but the every day mundane ones, too. I’d like to know how women with “regular” lives in whatever country of the world spends her day. What do we do alike? Different? What is your morning routine? Do you hate cooking, too? What are your chores, responsibilities, leisure times like? Susie, you tell us well about yours. Keep it up. Don’t worry about the naysayers. For myself, I just want to read all the time. But now I have to go fix vegetable soup as requested by He With Whom I Share My Life.

  3. I’ve spent my whole long life reading memoir and autobiography. Diaries, too. Maybe I’m interested in other people’s lives because I had my first penpal at age 8 (Sweden), and many more after that. Susie, I LIKED hearing about your life and enjoyed your book A LOT. Ignore the whackos! Imagine being married to her, then laugh yourself silly.

  4. I’ve commented on her blog post…..politely…..to the effect that her expectations in the sphere of autbography appear to be somewhat rigid.
    I haven’t commented on the tone of her post….

    • Oh dear – politely? I wonder if she’ll publish it, because she states:”If you want my attention, you have to be aggressive and smart and you have to feed my head”

      I don’t know anyone smarter than you, Helen. If your comment was not aggressive, I don’t rate its chances of feeding her head. 😉

      • Softly softly catchee monkey….she either responds or she does not to the slight suggestion that she might be somewhat rigid in her expectations…if not, nothing lost, if so, light blue touch paper and retire to Worthing.
        I can’t imagine why I would wish to feed someone’s head…all too pot of basil and i have enough watering as it is,,,

  5. Poor you. How very unpleasant for you. It doesn’t look like she’s a prolific writer of reviews so all that blathering on about bad-mouthing the book in as many places as she can think of is probably so much hot air and too much effort for her. Let’s hope she goes back under the bridge where she belongs. And in the meantime concentrate on all those really good reviews you’ve got, all a few bad ones do is prove that the book is being read by lots of people and not everyone likes everything.

    • She has given a lot of people a lot of entertainment today! They see her as an attention-seeker, so we’ve given her the attention she seeks. Probably what she really needs is a little TLC.

  6. She’s made a huge mountain out of a molehill. So she didn’t like the book, big deal. Read another.

    She seems incredibly proud about being a big-mouth that no one can stifle. Good for her. If she’d said anything of worth, her pride might be justified. Complaining about a book and then the comments her review provoked is just hot air. I recommend she gets over herself (as the aggravating expressions goes but is so perfectly appropriate in this case).

  7. Dear Susie, some people are just like that, just ignore. I loved that book and quite a few things could have been my story too. I admire you for all the things you have done sofar and have written about. Keep going, more power to you.

    • Thank you Angela. I am glad you enjoyed the book. There are people whose lives glide serenely over life’s waters, and those who hit waves from time to time. Everybody’s life is different, isn’t it? I’m keeping going!

  8. Well, let me just say – I found you because I was one of those subscribers and was utterly charmed. Completely. I read this fine book almost in one sitting – either on the Kindle or my iphone app. I’m the pickiest reader ever and held off forever buying a Kindle because I was certain I had Read The Last Good Book. Please know that you have a new fan.

  9. @Judy – like you, I am interested in other people’s lives. Everybody’s life is interesting in some way if we take the trouble to find out. As for us – routine? What is that? Never had one! Take this morning for example – dog to vet for a minor operation. Dog given no breakfast, which it found very bewildering. Drive to the vet, who tells us the operation is scheduled for tomorrow. That’s how well organised we are. 🙂 I love cooking, and am happy to iron about twice a year. Apart from that, I am absolutely useless at housework. It gives me palpitations. And like you, I’d choose to spend all day every day reading (and writing), and like you have to keep feeding food into TOH. I liken having a husband to having a baby bird with its beak permanently agape. 😀

  10. Susie, funny (!) I’ve likened my husband to a baby robin with his mouth wide open many times before! Feed me! Feed me! Sadly I don’t find it amusing. Wish I HAD gotten the cooking gene (I got the cleaning one). My younger sister has recently invited me to join her and two of her old school friends for monthly lunches, and we have now named ourselves “The I Hate to Cook Club,” because we all do hate it so much. Since retirement I’ve gotten lazier and lazier and lazier, but GEE! I’ve gotten a wagon load of books read.
    My daughter in Seattle (you’ve written her before) married a man from Zimbabwe, so I’ve gotten to learn lots of things/routines of that culture. Wish I had the money to visit!
    Keep up the good work. Don’t listen to the negative.

    • What a shame we are not closer. I’d very happily cook for you if you would do my housework. 😀

      I love your daughter’s blog, the cultural differences in her marriage – and the long time it took her to get there! Also she’s hot on letting off steam when she needs to. I like that. 😉

  11. This woman’s rantings have kept many people amused. I cannot imaging how she feels good about being a “stirrer”. Oh well, it takes all sorts I guess. Please tell me why you refer to your husband as TOH. I have been trying to work it out. My husband often signs himself as TOM (the old man). Curious me.

  12. I hope she feels better now after venting her feelings, and that she’ll be able to put her disappointment behind her and move on to something more positive. I imagine that she’s an unhappy woman.

    TOH – shall I tell you now, or keep you in suspense?

    OK – The Other Half. 🙂

  13. Just looked at your flickr stream, Heather. I love the mushroom army and rainy London, great shots. You and Poul are both talented photographers way beyond me. I’ve followed you on Flickr so will receive notifications when you post new photos there, and hope you can find a way to put “Subscribe” buttons on your homepages so that I can easily follow, and hopefully learn, something from you both. x

  14. Thank you Susie, and I will let you know if we have any luck with the homepages. You can follow Poul´s blog by clicking on `follow´ at the bottom right corner of the screen when you go into the blog.

  15. My two cents? I liked the book very much. I didn’t like the reviewer’s behavior very much. But, I had a good laugh. So, thanks for that, too. Carry on. 🙂

  16. As previously stated, I love all of your books and especially that one…even though, like the reviewer, I felt that family owed U big apology & not other way around….but their loss because U are wonderful, unique, & so very talented & they missed out. Unlike reviewer I didn’t want to slap them…just felt sad for them. Most people, I believe, are not really mean but simply are not conscious individuals…which can B very hurtful to themselves & to others…but I also recognize that “I’m sorry’s” are very personal, no matter what the situation.

    Think U R right, she needs TLC which she is probably not getting & probably doesn’t believe she is worthy of and /or doesn’t know how to go about getting it. I am sad for her. I’m happy U R taking it so graciously, however.

  17. How very sad and upsetting – some americans seem to think that everything should have positive outlook and don’t understand stories that aren’t simple and have a happy ending.
    I remember feeling shocked and dismayed at the story told in your excellent book but that just made me want to recommend it to others.
    OK some days we just “get out of bed the wrong side” and say things we regret later but that feeling usually goes away after a little while….what a pity that this “reviewer” seems to be hanging on to her grudge.

  18. Sorry Susie but I have not visited for a while, pressures off the ether, so I have only just caught up with the delights of your new family addition etc.
    I think part of the reason for the likes of this person’s review is the seeking of some form of celebrity. Getting reactions and seeing your name all over is a huge ego trip for some these days and it’s made all the easier with the mass of places that the internet has opened.
    Look at that Katie whatshername who was on The Apprentice. A seeker of self satisfaction if ever there was.
    If you’re lacking in brain cells then go for being a celebrity.

    • Hi Pip, great to hear from you. I hope your off-ether activities have been fun and that you and Kim are or have been having a great time in France.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, funny, that Katie Hopkins really is a piece of work, isn’t she? Notorious (although probably to her ‘famous’) for being a thoroughly nasty person. It’s one way to attract attention!

      • Over in France for another 2 and a bit weeks. Weather has been pretty naff but then again weather is not what we come for.
        Third grandson was brought over for his first holiday – 7 months old – as his ma and pa love the village as much as we do.
        Grandson, of course, stole the show completely.
        Car boot sale today outside our house so we were all woken fairly early. Shortly off for a leisurely Sunday lunch with great friends at La Part des Anges where we will enjoy local produce cooked to perfection sat on the terrace overlooking the river.
        Life doesn’t get much better than this!

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